Storm Volleyball Makes An Early Statement


by Bryan GeelanStaff Writer

The Simpson volleyball team knows how to turn heads.

In 2005, the Storm entered the Iowa Conference Tournament as a No. 6 seed. The team surprised everyone by advancing all the way to the conference finals. This year, the Storm was expected to finish behind Central and Wartburg College in the final standings. Simpson again has drawn attention by defeating its first two conference foes – Wartburg and Central, who was ranked 17th in the nation.

A major reason Simpson has won eight of their first 10 games is the strong nucleus of returning players from the 2005 squad. Senior Jessica Martin earned first-team All-Conference honors a year ago, while fellow Senior Tiffany Everding was a second-team selection. In the team’s recent win over Central, Everding became the sixth player in Simpson history to record 1,000 kills and 1,000 digs in a career.

“It’s an exciting accomplishment, but my main focus is on trying to win the conference,” Everding said after being named the Iowa Conference Female Athlete of the Week for the week ending Sept. 10.

Beside experienced veterans, some newcomers to the team have made an immediate impact. Freshmen Tara Christensen, Brianna Goodall and Brittany Frieseth have all seen significant playing time for the Storm so far this season.

“They have made a significant contribution,” said Head Coach Lana Smith.

The biggest win of the season so far for the Storm came on Sept. 6. Simpson defeated Central, who had won 37 straight conference matches and hadn’t lost in Pella since 1995.

On the surface, the 3-0 victory at Central looked like an upset. However, Simpson knew it was capable of defeating the winner of the last 10 Iowa Conference Championships. “The win over Central was not a shock to us,” Smith said. “I knew we could do it, physically. We put together a game plan the kids responded to, and the win got us off to a great start.”

The win marks the second time in Smith’s career she has defeated Central. The Dutch came to Indianola in 2001 riding a 56-game conference winning streak before the Storm defeated them 3-1.

In order to continue their early season success, Simpson needs to continue to serve well and keep opponents off-balance, as noted by Smith. However, a concern for the head coach is the team’s tendency to build an early lead, only to let opponents back in the game.

“We are famous for racing teams to 27 and then letting them tie us up,” Smith said. “We just need to finish matches from 20 on.”

Although the Storm has notched several big wins on the season, there’s still a long way to go.

“We need to continue to stay focused and not take weaker conference teams for granted,” Everding said. “With the big wins over Central and Wartburg, we can’t let any other games get away from us.”

If Simpson can hold its early momentum through the remainder of the season, a conference championship is well within reach.